tv BBC World News WHUT December 31, 2009 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. and union bank. >> union bank has put its financial strength to work for a wide range of companies, from small businesses to major corporations. what can we do for you? >> and now bbc world news. >> the taliban strike at the heart of c.i.a. operations in afghanistan to inflict its worst loss of life in 25 years. security guards from the blackwater company suspected of killing unarmed iraq civilians walk free from a court. the first picture of hostage
peter moore since his release in iraq. more details have emerged since his time in captivity. welcome to our viewers. coming up later for you, pictures coming in from paris and berlin. this is madrid as more countries in europe celebrate the start of 2010. we'll have more, of course, of the global party. hello to you it is now confirmed seven c.i.a. employees have been killed in a suicide bomb attack in afghanistan. it's a spy agency single loss of life in more than two decades. they were killed when a taliban attacker dressed as an afghan soldier blew himselfup inside a base in khost province near
the pakistan border. it includes the c.i.a.'s chief in the southeast. from kabul, we have a report. >> the high walls and barbed wire that surround the base weren't enough to stop the suicide bomber who walked in late yesterday. there is increased security now, too late to stop the attack. a taliban spokesman said one of their militants working as an afghan army officer passed through security with a package of explosives. he detonated it. >> the gym killing eight americans, seven working for the c.i.a. in bases right across the country, afghans and coalition troops work side by side. it is an essential part of the strategy to defeat the insurgency, but it also depends on mutual trust. this latest attack leaves military planners with a growing dilemma. right now coalition forces are starting to dra matly build up the numbers of civilians and
military in some of afghanistan's most volatile areas as part of president obama's surge. at the same time, afghan security forces are under enormous pressure to build up their numbers to take over the fight. the latest attack exposes the risk inherent in both elements of that strategy. there are about 90,000 afghan soldiers, many of them still learning how to fight. there is a recruitment campaign so aggressive that most inevitably sympathizers will sneak through. >> this is a vehicle of infiltration. we don't really have a way of figuring out who we can trust. >> british troops learned that last movement an afghan police officer shot and killed five soldiers on a patrol base. the wounded were treated here. the loss of soldiers is a tragedy. the loss of trust, a deadly
challenge. >> just a little bit earlier. the bbc adam brooks in washington gave us the latest. >> credible reports here in washington sources to people in the intelligence community which tells us that the suicide bomber was actually invited on to the base by the c.i.a. as part of an intelligence gathering operation. we don't have all of the details yet, but it seems that he wasn't searched when he went on to the base, and that's how the explosives got through. it seems at this point that this may have been an intelligence gathering operation that went wrong and the informant dressed in military uniform as we think he was may have actually have been posing as somebody who was bringing infmation to the c.i.a. when in fact he was an insurgent. >> adam, oversea agent operatives work with a certain level of risk and they work in close quarters with afghans. that's part of the strategy going forward.
is this likely to change anything, do you think? >> it's a very serious blow for the c.i.a. a lot of experience, a lot of wisdom have vanished with those lives today in the blast. c.i.a. operations in afghanistan and in the region are very large indeed involving hundreds, maybe even thousands of people. i wouldn't imagine that this is going to particularly put a crimp in the intelligence gathering operation that is very extensive, very broad throughout t country. i wouldn't imagine it's going to fundamentally change the course of operations in afghanistan tonight. >> but briefly, instant like this certainly raise a problem, especially on a base which had been hit before? >> i think the most worrying thing for the intelligence agency and for the infantry and all forces in afghanistan tonight, they have been reminded it's difficult to tell friend from foe. that's the nature of an insurgency. it's in the taliban's interest to try and destroy the trust
between foreign forces in afghanistan and local forces. it's quite possible that this attack was designed to do just that. >> adam brooks there in washington. a judge in the u.s. has dismissed all charges against five blackwater worldwide security guards charged in a deadly baghdad shooting. an american judge said the justice department overstepped its bounds and wrongly used evidence it was not allowed to see. they said the government's explanations have been contradictory and unbelievable. blackwater contractors were hired to guard state department diplomats in iraq. one of our correspondents in washington, kevin conley, told me prosecutors argued the guards fired on unarmed civilians at a busy intersection in 2007. >> all of this relates to a shooting in baghdad in september 2007. an american convoy carrying diplomats was making its way through the square they were guarded by guards from the blackwater private security company who had, of course, a huge government contract to
provide security in iraq. they opened fire. they killed 17 iraqi civilians and the murder charges the guards faced flared out of that incident. there was quite of lot of diplomacy at the time if you remember. the iraqi government was keen they should stand trial in iraq where there was deep anger at the act of private civilian security contractors. they didn't stand trial there. they were brought back to america and went through the american criminal justice system. why we don't look to new year's eve for major developments in large legal cases, we have one here tonight. the u.s. district judge has said essentially on what is something of a legal technicality the cases against all five of the accused are being dismissed. that's quite a big tng, these charges would have attracted prison sentences of up to 30 years. so a big case, big diplomatic and political ramifications, a big legal decision. >> it is big as you say, even
on new year's eve. does it really end here? >> well, the prosecution does have the right of appeal. it is a highly technical area of american law. essentially what has happened is this -- the judge has decided that the prosecution built the case against the men on initial statements they made to state department investigators. those sorts of statements enjoy a kind of limited immunity. in other words,rosecutors can't use them. they have to build their case without reference to those initial statements. in this case, the prosecutors simply failed to do that. it looks as though they built the case using those early privileged statements. that makes the prosecution case inadmissible. are they able to reconstruct the case? will they win an appeal? those are questions for a later day. certainly in terms of the prosecution, the justice department is expressing disappointment. this is a huge blow to the prosecution and it will have, i think, considerable repercussions in iraq where the iraqi government will be deeply
angered by the fact that a legal technicality or not, these men are not as it stands going to be brought to justice, although there may be an appeal. >> kevin conley from the bbc in washington. there is more background to that story online. head along to bbc.com/news. north korea has called for an end to the hostile relationship to the united states in a new year message. the announcement was reported by the north korean central news agency. the agency reported that north korea wants to bring about lasting peace in the region and making it nuclear-free through negotiations. the u.n. is withdrawing some of its international staff from pakistan for at least six months, it says, for security reasons. they say only nonessential staff will be moved and aid for people displaced by fighting will not be affected. the pakistani authorities have asked the u.n. to reconsider.
the -- the head of the catholic church in ireland said t cardinal died peacefully in the presence of family and friends. he was 92. former prime minister tony blair said the cardinal had made a significant contribution to delivering peace. the first picture of the british hostage peter moore has been released just a day after he was freed in baghdad. it's the first photo of him seen since his capture 2 1/2 years ago. iran is denying claims by a british newspaper that it masterminded the year.
killed. another is believed to be dead. only the i.t. consultant, peter moore, has come out alive. a year-long investigation by the guardian traced the kidnapping to this bleak border zone close to iran. their source, a former iraqi intelligence officer says iraqi officials followed the hostages and their captors and they believe they crossed into iran. >> our guy saw that the men were hooded and handcuffed. the lice cars went back to baghdad. the civilian cars went in the opposite direction. our guys couldn't follow the civilian cars because the road turns into dirt track here. it's a remote area that these civilian ca drove off towards the iranian border. >> the road to iran is disputed. the revolutionary guard has close links with the kidnappers but there was no evidence they were involved in the kidnapping. a man who says he spent 14
years with the revolutionary guard disagrees. >> for sure, iran's revolutionary guards are behind this kidnapping. they're the real players in all of this. the iraqi groups couldn't have pulled this off on their own. >> tonight iranian tv carried this denial by iran's foreign ministry. the allegations, it said, are unfounded. wherever he has been held, peter moore is now adjusting to his newfound freedom. tonight i have learned that peter moore's treatment improved markedly from june on wards. his captors moved him into facilities that gave him access to satellite tv, a laptop and a playstation. they also fed him well, all in marked contrast to the brutal treatment he and his bodyguards received early on in their captivity. mr. moore spent the last two days at the british embassy in baghdad. he is expected home within days and his family have asked for privacy.
frank gardner, bbc news. >> today is the final day of 2009. millions of people around the world are already celebrating the start of 2010 as the clock strikes midnight in their time zone. ben has been following the global festivities. >> at the stroke of midnight, sydney harbor bridge exploded into light as australians welcomed in the new year. this year's celebrations came with a message about the environment as clouds from 5,000 kilrams of explosives filled the sky, people were asked to think about the dangers of climate change. this event we're told was carbon-neutral. close to the international dateline, new zealand was the first country to celebrate the arrival of 2010. in hong kong, they put on a spectacular display over the city skyscrapers. in tokyo, instead of fireworks, they sent balloons with their new year wishesnto the sky.
china officially marks its new year in february, but that didn't stop these people from generating a musical explosion in beijing. this was the scene in moscow where 30,000 people gathered in red square and dubai's fireworks display was on a typically grand scale. in some places, it's going to be a quieter new year's eve. snow in the u.k., for example, is likely to mean a night at home for many people in parts of scotland, but clear skies are promised for london and many other cities. the u.k. capital is gearing up for one of its busiest nights of the year. a place of fireworks along the river thames is supposed to herald in a new year of optimism and energy. >> thanks for being with us on bbc news. finland is questioning its gun laws as a gunman went on a
rampage, shot five and then shot himself. first in moscow, police have detained dozens of people at an anti-kremlin protest. they include an 82-year-old, one of russia's most respected rights activist. she was among those being seen being pushed into five buses as police broke up the protest in a square in central moscow. >> all she wanted was democracy, what she got was a riot bus. earlier the new year's eve rally in moscow began quietly despite the heavy police presence. >> freedom to me is the 31st article of the constitution. this article provides the freedom of peaceful demonstrations and also an expression of our position about the government and political parties. police officers surrounded the crowd. they were there to show their dissatisfaction with the russian government.
inside they shouted happy new year. they man says work for food. law enforcers began taking people away. some of them were elderly. >> i congratulate my come patriots with the new year. i wish they came here. i wish the authorities would stop stealing and were elected honestly. >> just before midnight, president medvedev speaking during a televised new year address said let all of your dreams come true. let your loved ones be together with you. happy new year. it didn't begin well for everyone. it claimed more than 30 people were detained by police. detectives say opposition activists were warned the protest didn't have the approval of the authorities in moscow.
ian palmer, bbc news. >> latest headlines for you this hour on bbc news. the c.i.a. has acknowledged that seven of its employees were killed in wednesday's suicide attack in afghanistan. it's the worst loss of life in 25 years. for the third time in just two years, a lone gunman has gone on the rampage in finland. police say 43-year-old ibrahim shkupolli shout five people and his ex-girlfriend before taking his own life. we have this from the scene of the shooting. >> the gunman came to this shopping center in the southern finnish city. eyewitnesses spoke of a man dressed in black firing randomly inside a supermarket with a nine millimeter pistol. heavily armed police arrived,
but already three men and a woman had been shot dead. the gunman's former girlfriend worked in the supermarket, but she wasn't there at the time. the center was crowded with new year's eve shoppers. >> there was confusion. at first an announcement from the loud speakers said close the shop and get everyone out. then they said you can reopen and then another one saying get everyone out. >> it turned out that the police knew the gunman. he had a criminal record involving firearms. the gunman was 43-year-old ibrahim shkupolli. at some point, he went to his girlfriend's apartment, killed her, and then himself. it also turned out there was a restraining order against him prevenng him from approaching his girlfriend or going into where she worked, all embarrassing details for the police. >> the police know that the suspects, there is some background, but i do not have
such details about what they consist of. >> today's shooting focuses attention once again on how readily available firearms are in finland. there are about a million legal ones in circulation. even in supermarkets like this where today's shooting took place, it is fairly easy with a minimum amount of paperwork for someone as young as 17 to pick up a gun. this is the third multiple shooting in finland in the past two years. 11 were killed in one incident, nine in the other. as candles were placed outside of supermarket, some were pointing out again that this is one of the easiest places in europe to get a gun. the prime minister here has called for a review into the number of handguns in circulation. >> at least 18 people have died in rio da jannero in brazil where 24 hours of heavy rain has triggered landslides.
authorities have urged residents to move to safety even if they have to abandon their homes. >> rain hear falling for two days across rio de janeiro province. rivers broke their banks prompting hundreds of people to evacuate their homes. mudslides caused havoc. in the west of rio, they destroyed a house and killed five members of one family. water cascaded down the slopes and buildings collapsed trapping dozens of people. there was some welcome successes as firefighters labored to rescue inhabitants. many officers have been called away from the start of their new year's celebrations. >> i won't be spending the evening with my family, but it's been worth it because we saved a boy from under a landslide. it could have carried him away at any moment. >> joy was tempered with
hartbreak. a young girl was rescued, but her mother was not so lucky. >> i lost my friend. she was a mother and a real friend. >> thick cloud hovered over rio de janeiro's famous beach as day broke. would-be revelers were determined to issue in the year 2010 with a party to defy the elements. >> rio is a beautiful city. the bay is pretty. the beaches are lovely and the climate is superb. preparations for the season are great. the fine weather is back on for tonight. >> the party was due to last a few hours. the misery caused by the weather would linger much longer and the civil defense authorities said morrain was forecast. jane bennett-powell, bbc news. >> some of the day's other stop
towers, militants have kidnapped a french tv reporter and cameraman and their translator and driver. police say they were abducted on wednesday near kabul. no group has yet claimed responsibility. the pope has led the year-end services in rome, a mass of than for 2009. this is the first time pope benedict has been seen in public since he was attacked by a mentally disturbed woman at midnight mass on christmas eve. the gold for tiger woods has lost another major sponsor. because of the revelations because of his marriage infidelity, at&t has joined the companies in ending their deals. as you have been seeing, millions of people around the world have been partying to mark the start of 2010. britain, of course, will be no exception. let's sample the atmosphere as
the excitement mounts. we are on the bank of the thames in london. colin is in the scottish capital. daniel, give us a flavor of how it is down there? >> the noise level is really picking up here now. the streets are absotely packed here along the embankment along the thames. if we move across to the other side, you'll see what they're waiting for. there is the observation and that will be the centerpiece of the fireworks display here in less than an hour. as we go to another one of our camera positions, you can see how busy it is. around 200,000 people in the official viewing area along the thames. those who haven't been able to get in here will be viewing it from further back. some of them have been waiting here since late afternoon, so for several hours in the freezing cold waiting for midnight, waiting for the
chimes of big ben to usher in the new year, the new decade, and, of course, waiting for this fireworks display. >> thanks for braving the cold yourself, daniel. colin, it's very serious business north of the border. how is it looking? >> well, the partying has been going on for a couple of hours now. people had something to do, something to watch, something to participate in. from my vantage point high above princess street, i can see an absolute mass of people the full length of this main thoroughfare, some two kilometers long is crammed with people. they're singing. their waving lightsabers and they're looking down on the sound stage behind me. you can see the sound stage just behind me there. that's one of a number of stages where bands have been playing live music during the course of the evening. they're waiting for the headline act to come on anytime soon. that's a band called madness, very lively band that will certainly warm people up
because it's just freezing here, just about freezing. the good thing about what has happened here tonight is that we haven't had heavy snow. we haven't had blizzardss and the kind of weather that has caused the festivity further to the north to be cancelled. there is a party beginning here. it's going to carry on for some hours yet. >> colin and daniel, thank you both very much and happy new year to you both at least anytime now. let's take you a few more pictures from around europe, i think we can take you to the pictures in berlin right now. the german chancellor angela merkel has been warning of difficult economic times in her new year television speech. she said 2010 will be a crucial year in determining how germany will emerge from the global economic crisis. she said it won't be over quickly and may be more difficult in the new year before things eventually improve again. the scene there lower the brandenburg gate. you'll probably spot that
landmark in a greeting to the french people. nicolas sarkozy has said the year ending has been difficult to everyone. no country, no sector has been spared. he paid tribute. he said as to each one of you, the most credit is due to evening. i want to pay tribute to the cool head and courage of the french people in facing the economic crisis. thanks for being with us on bbc news. if it's your new year, a very happy one. >> funding was made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont, and honolulu. the newman's own foundation. the john d. and catherine t. >> union bank has put its financial strength to work for
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